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Verizon pays $4.4bn for AOL

Verizon Communications has confirmed the signing of an agreement to purchase AOL for $50 per share – an estimated total value of approximately $4.4 billion.

Verizon said the acquisition further drives its LTE wireless video and OTT strategy. The agreement will also support and connect to Verizon’s IoT (Internet of Things) platforms, creating a growth platform from wireless to IoT for consumers and businesses.

AOL is a specialist in the digital content and advertising platforms space, and the combination of Verizon and AOL aims to create a scaled, mobile-first platform offering directly targeted at what eMarketer estimates is a nearly $600 billion global advertising industry. AOL’s key assets include its subscription business; its portfolio of content brands, including The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Engadget, MAKERS  AOL.com and, as well as its millennial-focused OTT, Emmy-nominated original video content; and its programmatic advertising platforms.

Lowell McAdam, Verizon chairman and CEO, commented: “Verizon’s vision is to provide customers with a premium digital experience based on a global multiscreen network platform. This acquisition supports our strategy to provide a cross-screen connection for consumers, creators and advertisers to deliver that premium customer experience.”

He added, “AOL has once again become a digital trailblazer, and we are excited at the prospect of charting a new course together in the digitally connected world. At Verizon, we’ve been strategically investing in emerging technology, including Verizon Digital Media Services and OTT, that taps into the market shift to digital content and advertising. AOL’s advertising model aligns with this approach, and the advertising platform provides a key tool for us to develop future revenue streams.”

Tim Armstrong, AOL chairman and CEO, will continue to lead AOL operations after closing.

Armstrong said, “Verizon is a leader in mobile and OTT connected platforms, and the combination of Verizon and AOL creates a unique and scaled mobile and OTT media platform for creators, consumers and advertisers. The visions of Verizon and AOL are shared; the companies have existing successful partnerships, and we are excited to work with the team at Verizon to create the next generation of media through mobile and video.”

The transaction will take the form of a tender offer followed by a merger, with AOL becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Verizon upon completion. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions and is expected to close this summer.

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